Joint Evaluation of Support to Civil Society Engagement in Policy Dialogue

Although policy dialogue is an area promoted by many development partners in various ways, there is little comprehensive knowledge of the role that CSO involvement in policy development can have on domestic accountability and ownership of the development process, including the role DPs can play in supporting and promoting it.

As this is an issue of increasing importance, an evaluation of experiences with civil society engagement in policy dialogue in Bangladesh, Mozambique and Uganda was launched in 2011. The three countries were chosen for study based on the scope of CSO support from the commissioning donors, their differing contexts and the locations of previous CSO evaluations.

The evaluation had two overall purposes. Firstly, to gain a better understanding of how CSOs engage in policy dialogue – the strategies they use, the relevance and effectiveness of their policy work, and the constraining and enabling factors affecting their work. Secondly, to analyse different development partner support strategies – both in terms of their efficiency (transactions costs involved) and in terms of their effectiveness – with a view to make support to this area more effective.

The evaluation was commissioned by the evaluation department in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Danida, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), and Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida) on behalf of a wider range of donors. Representatives of the Canadian International Development Agency (Cida), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (Finida), and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) as well as two international networks of NGOs (Better Aid and Open Forum) participated in the international reference group established for the purpose.